Sticky Sesame Cauliflower Wings

By Jessica Hylton -

These Sticky Sesame Cauliflower Wings are the best veggie wings I’ve ever had! Loaded with maple-sesame flavor and the perfect amount of heat, they are the best game day snack for vegans!

plate of cauliflower wings in a tray with sauce in a small bowl beside it

Estimated reading time: 10 minutes

Vegan Sticky Sesame Cauliflower Wings? YES please!

Confession time: Every time I make these, quite a few don’t make it to the end plate. I kinda-sorta-maybe devoured them seconds after they came out of the oven. Oops. Happily so, though, burning the roof of my mouth and smiling in deep satisfaction as I went.

Cauliflower wings taste JUST like regular wings. I’ve had vegan and meat-eater friends alike amazed at the taste and texture. Without sauce, they are crispy-crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. With sauce, they are EVEN better, and may or may not cause the best flavor explosion ever. Ever, ever.

I decided to go with a sweet and spicy sesame sauce for these wings, and they came out exquisitely sticky and unbelievably divine. The spice has just the right amount of kick, and the sweet sesame flavor takes this tasty experience right over the top.

What Makes These the Best Cauliflower Wings?

Picking THE best thing about cauliflower wings is an impossible task. There are just too many amazing qualities about these vegan wings. Here are a few of the most important ones:

  • Cauliflower wings are great for a meal or as a snack. And the best part? You can gobble up basically a million of these without any guilt. So whether it’s a super bowl party, or just time for a casual appetizer, these cauliflower wings are perfect!
  • They’re also completely gluten-free. So, you can serve these to all your guests despite their dietary specifications. PRETTY sure that qualifies as a hostess win!
  • These wings are incredibly easy to make. Batter them up, bake them, dip ’em in sauce, and bake again for just 5 more minutes. Your entire house will smell like amazing and if you’re anything like me, you’ll be sitting in front of the oven counting down. Promise me you’ll make these? You do not want to miss out on how amazing these are.
ingredients to make sticky sesame cauliflower wings

Notes on the Ingredients

These wings have a fair amount of ingredients to them, so stick with me! We’ve covered how good these wings are, but I don’t know if we’ve done the sauce justice yet.

It’s a maple ginger sauce, made with maple syrup and ground ginger. Needless to say, it is SO good. Talk about the ultimate spicy-sweet combination.

For the Wings

  • Cauliflower: You’ll need just 1 small head cauliflower.
  • Flour: I like to use all purpose gluten free flour to make sure that these wings are gluten free, but you can certainly use regular all purpose flour. (See tips below for more info.)
  • Vegan Milk: My go-to is unsweetened almond milk – use a vegan milk that won’t interfere with the other flavors in this meal.
  • Seasoning: Round up some sea salt, ground black pepper, garlic powder, and crushed red pepper flakes (leave out if you don’t like spice).
  • Breadcrumbs: Use crispy/panko gluten free breadcrumbs seasoned with salt & pepper.

For the Sauce

  • Maple Syrup: I recommend using pure maple syrup – it offers the strongest flavor!
  • Low Sodium Soy Sauce: Or liquid aminos/coconut aminos. (See more info in tips section.)
  • Sesame Seeds: These will go in the sauce, but can also be used as a garnish at the end, along with chopped scallions.
  • Seasoning: Use ground black pepper and ground ginger.
  • Cornstarch Slurry: Cornstarch and water mix together separately from the rest of the ingredients in a small bowl for a cornstarch slurry.
  • Water

How to Make Sticky Cauliflower Wings

Sticky cauliflower wings are a breeze to whip together. They’ll take you 15 minutes to prep for the oven, and you can have them plated with the dip in just under 45 minutes. Nobody wants to spend all day in the kitchen on game day, or any day, and with these wings you don’t have to!

For the Wings

Preheat Oven to 450•F/230•C: Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with a silicone baking sheet or greased foil.

Prepare a Baking Sheet: Line a pan with a silicone baking sheet or greased foil. Using a knife, remove florets from the cauliflower (aka cut off the leaves and don’t use the stems). Chop the cauliflower into smaller pieces to resemble the size of the wings.

Whisk Together the Batter: In a separate bowl, whisk the gluten-free flour, almond milk, salt, ground black pepper and garlic powder in a bowl to make the batter. If the batter is too thick, feel free to thin it out with some more milk. In a separate bowl, place the breadcrumbs. Line it up beside the batter bowl.

step by step making of the cauliflower wings

Coat the Cauliflower Florets: Toss the cauliflower in the batter mixture (you can add them all at once), using a spatula or spoon to coat them all. Transfer them to the breadcrumbs (you can do this in two or three batches) to coat completely.

step by step making of the cauliflower wings

Then place onto the baking sheet, giving each wing enough space. Repeat until all of the wings are coated.

step by step making of the cauliflower wings

Bake for 22 Minutes: Please ensure your oven is completely preheated and hot. While baking, prepare the ingredients for the sauce by whisking together.

Remove from Oven: Toss the wings in the sauce (I like to use a spatula to move them around to get properly coated) then using tongs or a spoon, remove and place back on the baking sheet. Bake for another 5 minutes for the sauce to soak into the wings. Remove from oven and serve immediately. Enjoy!

step by step making of the cauliflower wings

For the Sauce

Make the Sauce: In a pan over medium-high heat, mix all the sauce ingredients. Whisk together to help dissolve the cornstarch slurry. Bring to a boil, then a simmer for about 5 minutes until the sauce begins to thicken up. Whisk frequently so the cornstarch doesn’t thicken up in spots but instead mixes evenly throughout the sauce. Taste test and add more sugar/soy if you want it sweeter or saltier. Remove from heat and allow to cool until needed. It’ll also thicken up as it cools!

mixing of the cauliflower into the sauce before baking again

Tips for Success

Not too bad of a process, right? These wings look super impressive – but they don’t require all that much effort! I won’t tell your guests that, though, if you don’t tell mine. 😉 Here are a couple of tips that will make this process even easier:

  • What can I substitute for liquid aminos? I usually don’t recommend substitutions, but you can substitute liquid aminos for tamari equally. If you want to substitute soy sauce, I recommend a reduced-sodium soy sauce to ensure the sauce isn’t too salty (since we using a lot of it). If you’re using regular soy sauce, you’ll need to taste test the sauce first before putting on the wings and possibly add more maple syrup to balance it out.
  • When preparing the baking sheet… Don’t use olive oil. Greasing the baking sheet with olive oil is not a good idea since it will burn the bottom of your wings.
  • The batter will only adhere to the cauliflower wings dry. So, if for any reason you wet your cauliflower, it has to be 100% dry for the batter to stick.
  • More on flour substitutes. You can use regular or whole wheat flour and regular breadcrumbs if you’re not gluten free. Some gluten free flours are thicker than others, so if your batter seems way too thick, add in a few tablespoons of milk to thin it out a little if necessary. I use Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose GF (NOT Baking) Flour.
  • Do I have to use breadcrumbs? Yes! The breadcrumbs make the cauliflower wings crispy before the sauce goes on. I’ve made these without the breadcrumbs before, and it doesn’t work without the breading. IF you’re NOT gluten-free, you can use regular panko breadcrumbs. These are the gluten-free breadcrumbs I use. Otherwise, I just make them myself (day-old bread in a food processor/blender, then toast it).
plate of cauliflower wings in a tray with sauce in a small bowl beside it surrounding by toppings and a brush to brush sauce on wings

Serving Suggestions

You can serve these wings with pretty much ANYTHING. Not kidding. I’ve made these with fries, noodles, rice… even in a sandwich! Here are some more ideas to get those creative culinary wheels turning:

  • As-Is: If you’re running short on time, just enjoy these wings as-is, without the sauce. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE this sauce, but it’s not technically necessary to enjoy these wings!
  • Rice or Noodles: These wings go great with white or brown rice, either works, and I love them with noodles too! You could also go double the cauliflower and whip up some cauliflower rice.
  • Salad: Sprinkle some cauliflower wings over the top of a light green salad, and you’ve got a lunch that can’t be beat!
  • More Cauliflower Wings: Wings two ways! Try these BBQ Cauliflower Wings alongside your sticky sesame cauliflower wings for the ultimate game day appetizer platter. Other loves are my Buffalo Cauliflower Wings, General Tso Wings and my Orange Cauliflower Bites.

How to Store and Reheat Extras

You can store these cauliflower wings in an airtight Tupperware container in your fridge for up to 4 days. Reheat them in an oven until warmed through. If you’ve got a toaster oven, that’ll work too.

Can I Freeze These?

Drawing on personal experience, I think these wings taste best fresh. I wouldn’t recommend freezing these as the batter may get soggy.

cauliflower wings up close shot
plate of cauliflower wings in a tray with sauce in a small bowl beside it

Sticky Sesame Vegan Cauliflower Wings

These Sticky Sesame Cauliflower Wings are the best veggie wings I’ve ever had! Loaded with maple-sesame flavor and the perfect amount of heat, they are the best game day snack for vegans!
by: Jessica in the Kitchen
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 27 minutes
Total Time 42 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Ingredients
  • 1 small head cauliflower
  • 1/2 cup all purpose gluten free flour* or regular flour if you're not gluten free
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes 1/2 if you want it very spicy, leave out if you don’t like spice
  • 1 cup crispy/panko gluten free breadcrumbs seasoned with salt & pepper

Sauce

  • 5 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce or liquid aminos 
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch + 1 teaspoon water mix together separately from the rest of ingredients in a small bowl for a cornstarch slurry
  • ¼ cup water
  • chopped scallions & sesame seeds for garnish
Instructions

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 450°F/230°C. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with a silicone baking sheet or greased foil.
  • Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with a silicone baking sheet or greased foil. Using a knife, remove florets from the cauliflower (aka cut off the leaves and don’t use the stems). Chop the cauliflower into smaller pieces to resemble the size of the wings.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk the gluten-free flour, almond milk, salt, ground black pepper and garlic powder in a bowl to make the batter. If the batter is too thick, feel free to thin it out with some more milk. In a separate bowl, place the breadcrumbs. Line it up beside the batter bowl.
  • Toss the cauliflower in the batter mixture (you can add them all at once), using a spatula or spoon to coat them all. Transfer them to the breadcrumbs (you can do this in two or three batches) to coat completely, then place onto the baking sheet, giving each wing enough space. Repeat until all of the wings are coated.
  • Bake for 22 minutes. Please ensure your oven is completely preheated and hot. While baking, prepare the ingredients for the sauce by whisking together.
  • Remove from oven. Toss the wings in the sauce (I like to use a spatula to move them around to get properly coated) then using tongs or a spoon, remove and place back on the baking sheet. Bake for another 5 minutes for the sauce to soak into the wings.
  • Remove from oven and serve immediately. Enjoy!

Maple Ginger Sauce

  • After you put the cauliflower in, you can start making the sauce. In a pan over medium-high heat, mix all the sauce ingredients. Whisk together to help dissolve the cornstarch slurry. Bring to a boil, then a simmer for about 5 minutes until the sauce begins to thicken up. Whisk frequently so the cornstarch doesn’t thicken up in spots but instead mixes evenly throughout the sauce. Taste test and add more sugar/soy if you want it sweeter or saltier. Remove from heat and allow to cool until needed. It’ll also thicken up as it cools!
NOTES
NOTES:
– Either way tastes great, sauce or sauceless, it’s your choice!
– Don’t use olive oil to grease the baking sheet since it will burn the bottom of your wings.
– The batter will only adhere to the cauliflower wings dry. So, if for any reason you wet your cauliflower, it has to be 100% dry for the batter to stick.
Without sauce, the wings are 24 calories each.
Yes, You can use regular or whole wheat flour if not gluten-free and regular breadcrumbs if you’re not GF. Some Gluten-Free flours are thicker than others, so if your batter seems way too thick, add in a few tablespoons of milk to thin it out a little if necessary. I use Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose GF (NOT Baking) Flour.
If you want to substitute soy sauce, PLEASE taste the sauce before it goes on the wings first. Some soy sauces can make this too salty. I recommend a reduced-sodium soy sauce.
HOW TO STORE CAULIFLOWER WINGS
You can store these Cauliflower Wings in an airtight Tupperware container in your fridge for up to 4 days, and reheat them in an oven until warmed. They taste best fresh. I wouldn’t recommend freezing these as the batter may get soggy.
 

Nutrition

Calories: 170kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 637mg | Potassium: 324mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 45IU | Vitamin C: 47mg | Calcium: 71mg | Iron: 1mg
by Jessica

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Recipe Rating




168 comments

  1. libby says:

    These were so yummy! I had to double the gluten-free panko and would double the sesame sauce next time – but they were crispy and sooooo tasty! These are definitely on my list to make again 🙂

  2. Charlotte says:

    5 stars
    I absolutely adore this recipe and make it regularly! The recipe is really easy to follow. The cauliflower wings are delicious by themselves but the sauce is so worth adding. So delicious!

  3. Kim says:

    Can I make this ahead – ie Roast in the oven for first 22mind but leave them to cool, then add the sauce later and cook the final 5 mins?

    • Gavin | Jessica in the Kitchen says:

      Hi Kim, thank you so much for reading. Yes, you can bake ahead! I hope this helps.

  4. Kathi says:

    5 stars
    The best cauliflower wings I ever ate!!! Next time with more sauce, kids couldn’t get enough 😅 Thank you so much!

    • Gavin | Jessica in the Kitchen says:

      We’re so happy that you and your wonderful family enjoyed this recipe Kathi! Thank you so much for reading and leaving such a nice comment!

  5. Ellie says:

    5 stars
    These cauliflower bites were delicious. I’ve never been able to make them quite as crunchy as a restaurant in the past but the batter/breadcrumbs mixture in this recipe made them come out perfect. The sauce was delicious and I will double it in the future. This will be my go to recipe for cauliflower bites, thanks!!

  6. Katie says:

    5 stars
    So so tasty!!! I made them in the air fryer and then added the sauce and it turned out perfectly. Will definitely make again!

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